The Latymer Incident.
All teams at all levels seem to find their own nemesis. In the earliest days of ‘Hotspurs FC’, as they were at the time, the Tottenham and dropping the S came later, it is little surprise they found their nemesis in another group of schoolboys from the school down the road, called Latymer. As Phil Soar describes them in the clubs Official History, they were ‘the Arsenal of the day‘.
The first recorded game of Hotspurs was on the 30th September 1882 against a team called the Radicals. We lost by two goals. Little information of the games at this time has survived but we do know that ‘Ham’ Casey one of the clubs founders had played for the Radicals the previous season. Our next game where records have survived is against Laytmer who we played away on 6th January 1883. And we lost 8-1. It is thought that most of the home team were older than our own team of schoolboys. The scorer and team details appear to have been lost in the mists of time.
The following season we played them at home in the December. They turned up with only five players but two more arrived later. At the end of the game Hotspur claimed a 2-0 win but Laytmer wouldn’t agree the score. As was common practice when the two teams did not agree the local papers did not publish a report. Which helps explain the lost accounts. The only player we know who was involved that day was Bobby Buckle, who scored one of our goals and was the clubs first captain.
We then played them away the following March and won 2-0. Our scorers were Watson and Randell. We also know the team included Jull, Tyrell and Ballie. The two captains sent in such contrasting reports that the Weekly Herald again refused to publish them.
1884 / 85 and the tensions between the two teams mounted. In the first game in November we won 2-1. This despite Laytmer playing 12 players until their trick was discovered at half time. The return game was on St.Valentine's day, but there was little love lost between the sides. Amazingly they tried playing 12 men again.
At which point Hotspurs dropped them from the fixture list citing ‘Ungentlemanly conduct’. Bob Goodwin’s book The Complete Record shows that this second meeting was a 75 minute game.
Laytmer school still exists and the school records makes no mention of their teams underhanded tricks but describes our team “Hotspurs despite their Presbyterian background they seem to be a boisterous group”.
Well at least they could count.
The top photo was taken before our first competitive game with the city business house, St Albans. That game was played on 17th October 1885, seven months after the last Laytmer game.
Many thanks - THFC, Phil Sour- The Official History and Bob Goodwin - The Compete Record.
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